Thursday, December 23, 2004
People Want Leadership, Mr. President, And In The Absence Of Genuine Leadership, They'll Listen To Anyone Who Steps Up To The Microphone
The fight is a central theme of the contest to head the Democratic National Committee, particularly between two leading candidates: former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who supports abortion rights, and former Indiana Rep. Tim Roemer, an abortion foe who argues that the party cannot rebound from its losses in the November election unless it shows more tolerance on one of society's most emotional conflicts.Look, we've been over this. The Republicans are not going to vote for Democrats marketing themselves as Republican Lite -- they've got Republicans they can vote for. And Democrats are not going to vote for Democrats marketing themselves as Republican Lite -- they'll just have more politicians they can't trust.
Roemer is running with the encouragement of the party's two highest-ranking members of Congress, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco and incoming Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada. Dean, a former presidential candidate, is popular with the party's liberal wing.
Party leaders say their support for preserving the landmark ruling will not change. But they are looking at ways to soften the hard line, such as promoting adoption and embracing parental notification requirements for minors and bans on late-term abortions. Their thinking reflects a sense among strategists that Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry and the party's congressional candidates lost votes because the GOP conveyed a more compelling message on social issues.
If anything, the Democrats have to become more liberal. They have to market themselves not as the "moral values" party -- they have to point out that damn near everything good this country's government has done in the past hundred years has been [a] done by Democrats and [b] targeted by Republicans. Civil rights, environmental protections, Social Security and the rest of the Great Society, balanced budgets, job creation....
To those of us who consider abortion a medical decision to be made by a woman and her doctor, this sucking up to the religious right -- because that's exactly what it is -- is offensive.
And maybe, just maybe, they'd benefit by reading this piece by Anna Quindlen.